I recently saw a TED talk introducing a concept called multipotentialites. (My spellcheck does not recognize that word’s right to exist.
A multipotentialite is someone who is fascinating by a variety of different subjects, dives in and becomes decently good at them, but then loses interest and moves on.
I think I definitely qualify as a multipotentialite – a more generic term is “renaissance man”, or the more derogatory jack of all trades. I find myself cycling from one interest to the next, from Krav Maga to acroyoga to improve acting to piano.
Eventually, a few recurring interests and passions emerge, and I find myself cycling back to them. So for example, meditation and therapy, together with marketing and web design, are things I have consistently come back to over the last five years.
Watching the video was a validating experience.
In a world that rewards and promotes focusing one thing and becoming an expert on it, I always felt inadequate knowing a wide range of things but never achieving virtuoso status on any of them.
It’s nice to know that there are other people like me, who share my temperament, and my challenges. It’s also nice to be reminded of our strengths: multipotentialites are fast learners, adaptable, and innovative because of the variety of knowledge that they bring to every interaction.
But the challenge remains:
It seems that consistency, as my friend once told me, is the key to success. It takes a while to develop a reputation and knowledge, and changing frequently can effectivly dilute your efforts.
“Does Shalom do meditation or web design?” Most people take a while before they create an association with you, and don’t switch as quickly as you do from one thing to the next.
It seems that the most natural thing to do to help address this issue is to build a brand around yourself. What’s the common denominator with all my different interests? Me. Shalom Shore. And my values, creativity, knowledge, personal growth.
But I still wonder if it will work. How will people handle visiting a site devoted to personal growth and cheesecake recipies?
A role model in this area is Tim Ferris, who’s blog does, at this point, cover everything from acroyoga to investing. From the side Tim seems a lot more consistent and persistent than me. But all I can do is try to be myself and see where that leads me.
So it’s one thing to feel validated for being a multipotentialite, and it’s another to actually make it work. Let’s wait and see.